Friday, April 10, 2009

So Librarians Don't Read?

Over at Read Roger, there was a short conversation about his post She Has A Really Good Point and the School Library Journal Battle of the Books. I'm going to come back to the Battle of the Books idea soon, because we have plans to do a similar online promotion ourselves this summer, but for right now I wanted to quote an anonymous comment:

I also agree with Wolfson that there is something not-right in the world of kids' books. I wish there were a one-stop shop on the web for finding out about a wider range of books. I am speaking as a writer, but also as a reader and as the parent of readers. I find most of the librarians I know to be well-meaning, but useless. They only know about the very most highlighted books of the recent day. They seem tremendously burdened by other aspects of their jobs and they never seem to have read anything.

What do you think? Do you find most of the library staff you know to be useless at reader's advisory? There's no doubt we all can sometimes feel "burdened" by our many job duties. Do you feel that YOU are a pretty well-read library staff member? Can you lead patrons to more than the "most highlighted books of the recent day"?

How do you do this? Do you read books? Do you read reviews? Do you read Scoop's page on Tales' Treehouse?


Alyson said...

I think I am well read, but of course I am most familiar with the newer material because I just read it. Children's librarians have it tougher because they are trying to keep up with kid's literature and reading adult material for themselves. But as far as them being useless - and not knowing about older material. My recent request for new/old book pairings has brought in lots of suggestions.
I noticed the comment was anonymous - perhaps librarians would find her writing to be "useless."
I read reviews and also find scanning the Popular PreOrder pages on Amazon or BarnesandNoble to be helpful. I don't need to read the Rainbow Magic series to realize they are hugely popular. Of course maintaining Swoop's area keeps me on my toes.

Allison said...

I agree that there is no way we can know everything in reader's advisory. For me, I am pretty passionate about helping people find the 'right book' whether it is a child, young adult or adult. I really want that person to leave the library happy because they have been given a book that they think looks good.

I try to read by either listening or reading. I try to have a variety of different books going. I don't find that I have or take the time to read reviews -- maybe this would help me to not feel overwhelmed or burdened.

I tend to look to other librarians that are good at certain types of genre's or such to help me when I am helping a patron and feel that I am not providing the 'right book'. However I don't think that every person working at the library has the same desire to build up their knowledge -- this is just the fact of any job for that matter.

Andrew said...

Isn't pushing information about new books & material (children, adult, DVD, whatever) the kind of information we should be providing to the PSS staff? Instead of asking them to search out new titles, expecting them to GO to websites to read reviews, why aren't we providing them with those kind of resources? Perhaps this is the kind of service that a librarian could provide for staff? 10 new titles a week, briefly reviewed on a blog, posted on staffNet or emailed directly to interested staff?

It's an idea that I'll be looking into.

Allison said...

WOW cool idea Andrew...that would be so helpful!